The Role Of Energy Efficient Transformers In The Petrochemical Industry

The Role Of Energy Efficient Transformers In The Petrochemical Industry

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Introduction

The U.S. petrochemical industry is the third largest in the world and a significant contributor to the countrys GDP. The US Petrochemicals Industry is also an indispensable part of the manufacturing and consumer sectors, churning out products such as fiberglass, tires, paint, plastic, rubber, detergents, dyes, fertilizers, textiles, solvents, and more.

In the recent past however, the US Petrochemicals Industry has undergone reasonably predictable lifecycle-path phases; from initial growth and augmentation to slowing down in marginal returns, and thereafter facing
possible downturns aided by many factors such as competition and resource constraints.

The future of the US petrochemical industry appears to be uncertain at present with the imbalance created in the market by the high feedstock process. According to Business Monitor Internationals (BMI) 2008 US Petrochemicals Report, the industry is also suffering the effects of a contraction in house building and car production, with output set to further diminish in 2009 and 2010.

Besides the ongoing effects of the recession, the US petrochemicals industry is faced with radical changes in the regulatory environment. The US is seeing a new policy climate with greater stress on tackling climate change through reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This move has major
implications for the energy-intensive petrochemicals industry. A bill seeking to make a 17% greenhouse gas emission reduction through 2020 has raised objections from the chemicals industry lobby. The industry could find it difficult to maintain both competitiveness in global markets and meet its carbon
targets, unless it introduces some drastic changes in the way it demands and uses energy.

Energy and the Petrochemical Industry

Energy is a very important cost factor in the chemical industry in general. The petrochemical industry is even more energy-intensive than other sub-sectors within the chemical industry. The sector spent about $10 billion on fuels and electricity in 2004.

The petrochemical industry is responsible for 70% of the chemical industrys expenditures on fuels and 40% of the expenditures on electricity. The cost of energy and raw materials are roughly 2/3rds of the total value of shipments of the petrochemical industry. Because energy is such a crucial cost factor for the
industry, improvement in energy efficiency is an important way to reduce costs and increase predictable earnings, especially in current times of high energy price volatility.

US manufacturers in the petrochemical industry also face an increasingly competitive global business environment; it is thus imperative that they reduce production costs without negatively affecting product yield or quality. Improving energy efficiency reduces the bottom line of any petrochemical plant.

Successful, cost-effective investment into energy-efficient technologies and practices meets the challenge of maintaining the output of a high quality product despite reduced production costs. This is especially important, as energy-efficient technologies often include additional benefits, such as increasing the productivity of the company and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

There are a variety of opportunities available in the US petrochemical industry to reduce energy consumption in a cost-effective manner. Companies are thus coming together to begin the process of jointly exploring new and more energy-efficient processes that could dramatically reduce the dependence of the US petrochemical industry on foreign oil. The US petrochemicals industry is being hit by a rapid rise in energy costs and the The Role of Transformers

Transformers, besides other things like switchgear, converters, low-voltage equipment and power-plant solutions, are just some of the things that contribute to the efficient production and management of highquality
electricity.

Most standard transformers in industrial settings operate at full load and have 90 to 95% efficiency. However, one of the main reasons for energy loss in a transformer is due to inefficiencies in the transformer core. This issue is addressed in high-efficiency transformers that utilize the latest core
technologies to reduce core losses. The positive jump in efficiency is due mainly to the fact that the core is energized 24/7, even when the transformer load is turned off or disconnected.

Another issue of concern is that of transformer load. With the majority of the electricity used in the US being run through transformers at lower loads, sizable amounts of energy are being wasted. This issue is
of special relevance to an industry like that of Petrochemicals which already is a high consumer of energy.

The Need for Energy-Efficient Transformers

Compliant transformers are able to maintain National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Class 1 efficiency levels at 35% load. This is accomplished by using higher-grade grain-oriented steel in the core rather than the standard non grain-oriented type. Grain-oriented steel offers thinner gauge and purer
metallic material quality, reducing heat caused from eddy currents by limiting the direction in which current can flow. This narrowing of the magnetic field into a thinner profile also reduces the canceling effect of opposing currents.

Increasing the energy efficiency of a transformer allows the unit to operate at the same level of power with less energy being wasted. This has a large impact on the consumption and distribution of energy because the reduction in energy usage improves the countrys energy independence, reduces its carbon
footprint and lessens infrastructure investment.

Decreasing energy usage by reducing waste even by .03% over the next 20 years cuts the need for new power generation by 60 to 66 million kilowatts. That drop would eliminate the need for construction of 11 new 400-megawatt power plants by 2038.

Electrical power generation accounts for 35% of all US emissions of carbon dioxide, 75% of sulfur dioxide and 38% of nitrogen oxides. With higher-efficiency transformers, the country will see reduced emissions
of CO2, NOx and Hg of 678.8 Mt, 187.7kt and 6.48t over the next 30 years. Curbing energy imports will also bolster the US economy by reducing the current $65 billion trade deficit and mitigating fuel prices through decreased demand.

The compliant transformers will cost more than their lower-efficiency predecessors due to the higher price tag for grain-oriented steel, additional labor and higher raw material costs. While the compliant transformers will add to the cost of construction and maintenance projects, the end user will save this cost over the life of the transformer.

The Role of Transformers

Transformers, besides other things like switchgear, converters, low-voltage equipment and power-plant solutions, are just some of the things that contribute to the efficient production and management of highquality
electricity.

Most standard transformers in industrial settings operate at full load and have 90 to 95% efficiency. However, one of the main reasons for energy loss in a transformer is due to inefficiencies in the transformer core. This issue is addressed in high-efficiency transformers that utilize the latest core
technologies to reduce core losses. The positive jump in efficiency is due mainly to the fact that the core is energized 24/7, even when the transformer load is turned off or disconnected.

Another issue of concern is that of transformer load. With the majority of the electricity used in the US being run through transformers at lower loads, sizable amounts of energy are being wasted. This issue is of special relevance to an industry like that of Petrochemicals which already is a high consumer of
energy.

The Need for Energy-Efficient Transformers

Compliant transformers are able to maintain National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Class 1 efficiency levels at 35% load. This is accomplished by using higher-grade grain-oriented steel in the core rather than the standard non grain-oriented type. Grain-oriented steel offers thinner gauge and purer
metallic material quality, reducing heat caused from eddy currents by limiting the direction in which current can flow. This narrowing of the magnetic field into a thinner profile also reduces the canceling
effect of opposing currents.

Increasing the energy efficiency of a transformer allows the unit to operate at the same level of power with less energy being wasted. This has a large impact on the consumption and distribution of energy because the reduction in energy usage improves the countrys energy independence, reduces its carbon
footprint and lessens infrastructure investment.

Decreasing energy usage by reducing waste even by .03% over the next 20 years cuts the need for new power generation by 60 to 66 million kilowatts. That drop would eliminate the need for construction of 11 new 400-megawatt power plants by 2038.

Electrical power generation accounts for 35% of all US emissions of carbon dioxide, 75% of sulfur dioxide and 38% of nitrogen oxides. With higher-efficiency transformers, the country will see reduced emissions
of CO2, NOx and Hg of 678.8 Mt, 187.7kt and 6.48t over the next 30 years. Curbing energy imports will also bolster the US economy by reducing the current $65 billion trade deficit and mitigating fuel prices
through decreased demand.

The compliant transformers will cost more than their lower-efficiency predecessors due to the higher price tag for grain-oriented steel, additional labor and higher raw material costs. While the compliant transformers will add to the cost of construction and maintenance projects, the end user will save this cost over the life of the transformer.

Benefiting from Better-Designed Transformers

Increasing the energy efficiency of a transformer allows the unit to operate at the same level of power with less energy being wasted in the process.
Electric power systems throughout the petrochemical industry are designed to normally operate at 50 or 60 Hz. With proper planning during the design phase of the power system for a petrochemical plant, certain harmonics can be minimized. Another way to minimize harmonics in the petrochemical power
system is to minimize the saturation of transformers by maintaining the operation of the transformer in a reasonable voltage range.

The system short-circuit capacity is an important factor in determining the impact of power electronic loads in the petrochemical industry. Where the power system is weak with a relatively low short-circuit capacity, the voltage distortion caused by the harmonic currents can be significant. Conversely, where the power system is strong with a relatively high short-circuit capacity; the voltage distortion caused by the same harmonic current sources might be negligible. Thus, one solution to minimize the voltage distortion caused by power electronic equipment is to install the equipment on a strong power source.

Energy Policy Act 2005 Mandates High-Efficiency Transformers

The Energy Policy Act 2005 mandates that distribution transformers meet specific efficiency levels starting January 1, 2007. The production of non-compliant models was to be halted by 2006. The catch, however, is that the higher-efficiency transformers also cost more to build than the non-compliant models. By mid-2007, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was evaluating the efficiency standards for transformers because it was clear that even a slight improvement could save significant amounts of electricity which was currently being wasted well before it reached consumers. Efficiency in transformers would also reduce emissions from electric generating plants, as they would need to produce less energy.

The DOE was planning to issue new guidelines for distribution transformers by 2008. Once in place following a gradual phase-in, the new transformers are expected to save 26 billion kilowatt-hours annually. This will in turn reduce annual emissions from electric power plants by 15 million metric tons,
about equal to the average annual emissions of 2.7 million automobiles.

Pacific Crest Transformers and the Petrochemical Industry

Pacific Crest Transformers (PCT) has been catering to clients in the Petrochemical industry since its inception in 1919, thus making it possibly the only such company with 90 years of continuous domain
experience.

While the thrust towards energy-efficient transformers may be a relatively new phenomenon in the US, environmentally conscious companies like Pacific Crest Transformers (PCT) began eco-friendly initiatives years earlier.

PCT is committed to designing and manufacturing superior quality, custom-built and specialty transformers in the most cost-effective and responsive manner possible. The company has experience in building Padmount, Station and Secondary Unit Sub Transformers, and today specializes in environmentally friendly and efficient liquid-filled distribution transformers. PCT was propelled towards its energy efficiency initiative in its attempt to produce efficient, energy saving and therefore environmentally sensitive transformers.

The main thrust at PCT has always been customizing transformers after elaborate consultative processes
with the client. The transformers eventually built are based on client specification and are designed to fit
into the existing infrastructure.
Over the years PCT has designed transformers for:
Hazardous, flammable, or explosive environments
On-shore and off-shore platforms in corrosive atmospheres
Special taps and voltages as required
Harmonic loads from PLC and VFDs
High-pollution areas
PCTs transformers are present in environments where there is drilling and refining of fossil fuels, including natural gas, from areas with varied climatic conditions ranging from the hot humidity of the gulf coast to the frigid north slopes of Alaska. PCT Transformers are used throughout the process of
acquisition, transportation, and conversion of the end-products.

Conclusion

Energy is definitely a key driver of the Petrochemicals Industry, and so it is only natural that in the face of an uncertain oil future, companies take another look at the way they consume energy. Energy that is saved is considered the cleanest way of generating additional energy and steps to save energy are long
overdue.

Companies in this sector need to study their processes from an energy-efficiency standpoint and look at the various ways of conservation. With increasingly competitive times ahead, these steps taken now can
result in significant cost reduction. It may also be necessary to retrofit or invest in energy-efficient transformers, and restructure the existing energy system and here, working with a manufacturer that has deep domain expertise and sound long-term environmental strategies can make a real difference.

To know more about Energy Efficient Transformers check out Pacific crest transformers website.

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